The strongest insect in the world…
Sara • 11/08/2023
Dung beetles can roll dung balls up to 50 times their own weight. These little guys are some of the most fascinating insects out here in the bush. For the whole of winter they have been in a state of torpor waiting for the heat of summer and the first rains. The bush then starts buzzing with the wing beats of these flying decomposers.
Dung beetles can be broken down into 4 distinct groups, telecoprid, endocoprid, paracoprid and kleptocoprid. The endocoprids lay their eggs in a pile of dung, paracoprids dig down below a pile of dung, telecoprids roll the famous balls of dung and kleptocoprids steal the balls from the telecoprids.
They completely rely on dung for food for both them and their own larvae and will lay their eggs in the balls. The telecoprids will roll the ball away till they find a suitable place to dig a hole and submerge it. They will then go back to the original pile to roll another and then roll it back to the same hole placing it on top of the first ball. They may place three balls on top of each other like a sleeve of tennis balls before closing the top of the whole and then leaving the larvae to hatch, feed and change into their adult for.
What is so interesting about this is the first ball in has the first laid egg yet it is the last ball in that has the first emergence, then the second ball and lastly the first ball. This prevents any unwanted traffic on the way up to the surface. How smart is that?
So dung beetles are totally important to the environment as they clean up the majority of dung during the summer season and when they retreat for their winter sleep – the termites take over the job of cleaning.